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  /   Blog   /   Unwanted Holiday Pests: Christmas Tree Bugs

Unwanted Holiday Pests: Christmas Tree Bugs

November 17, 2021   |   Pest Control

If you love the natural beauty and fresh pine scent of live Christmas trees, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the National Christmas Tree Association, there are nearly 350 million trees being grown on Christmas tree farms in the United States and, each year, about 25 to 30 million of them are sold to customers like you.

Here’s the thing, though. When these trees are growing outside, they make ideal homes for all sorts of critters and, when you bring them into your warm, comfortable home, eggs will hatch inside your house and the bugs will otherwise act as if it’s springtime, including those that might hibernate in the cooler winter temperatures.

So, what should you do to help prevent an infestation when you bring a Christmas tree inside and what should you do if bugs from a tree are already in your Southeastern home? This post will help.

Defining Christmas Tree Bugs

First, there isn’t actually a “Christmas tree bug,” per se. In other words, no biologist or entomologist has given this bug its own Latin name. Instead, it’s an umbrella term that encompasses the kinds of insects that might ride into your home on a holiday tree.

Types of Christmas tree bugs will vary, based on three main factors: where you live, the type of tree you choose, and the steps the tree farm takes to manage their presence. The kinds of bugs that often find homes in the trees grown on Christmas farms include aphids, beetles, spiders, weevils, webworms, and bark lice, among others.

Prevention Techniques

If you haven’t yet brought a Christmas tree inside, there are a few steps you can take to prevent the critters from coming indoors. First, inspect your tree of choice closely. If you’re going tree shopping at nighttime, take a good flashlight and shine it on the tree in several locations. (If fact, it can make sense to do this on shady mornings and afternoons). Outdoor trees will often have a few bugs on them but, if you see a high number of them or you spot eggs on the trunk or in the branches, pick another tree. If a particular tree farm seems to have a problem with excess bugs, shop elsewhere. Better safe than sorry.

Here are more tips. Consider buying your holiday tree at a place that uses a mechanical tree shaker before you take your tree home. If not, shake it yourself before transporting it to your house. Once you get home, inspect the tree again with your flashlight before taking it indoors. Need another shake? Do so.

Christmas Tree Bugs on the Loose—in Your Home

Because the bugs that came inside on your tree can be from multiple species, step one is to clearly identify what kinds they are, and the experts at Turner Pest Control can help. Then, we’ll recommend and provide highly effective treatments.

Here are examples.

Spiders

The Southeast portion of the United States is home to a variety of spider species. Some are pretty innocuous while others can be harmful, even dangerous. In general, if you suspect or know you have spiders in your house, don’t reach into dark places or crevices where you can’t see well. This is even true when you’re wearing gloves.

Spider types can include the following:

  • Wolf spiders: Although these nocturnal creatures spend most of their hunting time on the ground, they will climb trees if they sense an opportunity to capture prey. They are camouflage experts and can therefore be hard to spot. Plus, they have outstanding vision and are so sensitive to vibrations that they can avoid being captured themselves. They resemble the brown recluse spider, a potentially dangerous species that can be found in Florida’s panhandle areas.
  • Black, brown, and red widow spiders: Widow spiders can make their homes in trees, including but not limited to crevices created by loose bark. If you’re not a spider expert, it can be challenging to conclusively identify widow spiders because different varieties have different colorations.
  • Banana spiders: These are among the largest orb weavers in our country, often more than an inch and a half long. They gravitate to forested areas (and that may be exactly how they’d perceive a Christmas tree farm). Their webs are hard to spot.

Aphids

One of the most common types of Christmas tree bugs, they can live comfortably off of the tree’s needles and branches with the heat of your home spurring on the hatching of their eggs. Aphids come in a wide range of colors from brown or black to green or yellow, even red. When populations are significant, the normally wingless aphid can actually grow wings, giving them even more freedom to travel about your home. Plus, they can reproduce at exponential speeds, in part because they can do so both sexually and asexually.

If you find them in your home, resist the temptation to squish them. They can leave behind a stain that’s extremely challenging to remove.

Praying Mantis

This is another example of a bug that can live on Christmas trees. If you just have a praying mantis or two on your tree, you can manually remove them since they don’t bite and aren’t poisonous. During your inspection of your tree, though, you may not notice their eggs and, if just one hatches inside the house, you may find yourself with up to one hundred hungry babies.

Christmas Tree Bug Treatments

We’ll start with a thorough home inspection so we can identify the species (there may be several) that arrived on the tree and where they’re hiding and breeding inside your house. We’ll then recommend a customized pest control plan that provides complete indoor coverage and we’ll even treat door thresholds, clear away outdoor spider webs, and otherwise provide comprehensive protection.

So, if you’ve already taken your tree inside and suspect that Christmas tree bugs have escaped indoors, just contact us online. Our experienced team knows just what to do!

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